Wilkes University really, really wants students

Guess what? Wilkes University in Pennsylvania is targeting individual high school students with recruitment advertising.

Just in case it’s not clear what that means, consider the following excerpt from the linked article:

Justin Chung knew Wilkes University wanted him when he got one of its first acceptance letters in February. But he didn’t know how badly until he saw the mall kiosk with his name on it.

And the pizza boxes.

And the commercial on MTV and VH1.

“Justin Chung of Council Rock South. As a weightlifter, you never push your limits without a spotter to help. Wilkes University feels the same way about your education. (We just use less talc.)”

The shout-out is part of a quirky advertising campaign targeting eight high-achieving seniors who were accepted to the relatively small liberal arts university in Wilkes-Barre but had not yet made up their minds.

Two questions spring to mind:

  • Exactly how much is a student worth to Wilkes that they can turn a profit from these kind of highly-targeted campaigns?
  • I demand that Indiana University retroactively run ads to lure me into its cash-grabbing diploma mill.

Okay, that last one was more of a statement than a question. And in reality doing an interesting campaign like this always nets dividends beyond the scope of the campaign itself — a point often lost on organizations that don’t value buzz. (Ever heard of Wilkes University? Well, you have now.) But still, in the immortal words of Jerry Seinfeld, “Come on!”